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Students Receive New Laptops, Embrace Spirit of “Paying it Back”

Bishop fund
Student winners with their laptops and the Stony Brook staff members who made this fund possible.
Student winners with their laptops and the Stony Brook staff members who made this fund possible.

Through the Endowed Richard A. Bishop Fund, 20 incoming freshmen and two continuing students received laptops on August 21 at a ceremony in the Administration Building Welcome Center. The fund was established in memory of Mr. Bishop, a resident of the area and local businessman who used to manage the Computer Corner for Stony Brook’s Faculty Student Association (FSA) before the venue closed in 2003.

In the spirit of Dick Bishop — who was always extremely generous to his customers — the endowment is intended to help students who might not otherwise have the resources to purchase a computer for college. Students had to apply for the funding, which included writing an essay about “paying it back,” and winners were then chosen by a committee.

Kevin Kelly, executive director of FSA, began the award ceremony by providing some background about the origin of the endowment. “Dick died very suddenly from a stroke about 18 years ago and [former Stony Brook University President] John Marburger, who was then Director of Brookhaven National Laboratory, came back to campus for the memorial service and also, along with the FSA staff, to start a scholarship fund in Dick’s name. People were then able to contribute back to the community in the name of Dick Bishop. That’s the source of the funds for the computers that are being given out today.”

Dr. Marburger continued to come back to give out the awards to students for a number years. The fund went dormant for a few years, and then last year, Stephanie Rovello, assistant director for Scholarship and Customer Support Services, collaborated with both Kevin Kelly and Jerry DeFoe, manager of Donor Stewardship. Together they successfully reactivated the endowment and began their outreach to students.

Before distributing the laptops, Rovello stressed the importance of giving back. “The key here is paying it back. When you graduate and are ready to go out into the world and be really successful, go back into your communities and tell them, ‘you can do this, you can go to college and be successful.’ And maybe someday you will be able to donate to a scholarship and help some students like yourselves.”

Eric Soler, a junior who works at Seawolves Marketplace, will be a liaison for the students if they have any questions or problems with their new computers. Mauro Nicoletto, supervisor of Client Support in the Division of Information Technology (DoIT), also gave the students contact information for any technical issues. DoIT ordered the laptops for the students.

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